Developing construction skills for a skills park: a work in progress

I published a post yesterday to my local mtb club’s blog titled, CROCT’s Sechler Skills Park continues to evolve.

The skills park is my primary responsibility as one of CROCT’s many volunteer trail workers. My motivation to work on it?

  • Our in-town Sechler Park MTB Trail is a river bottoms trail and doesn’t have a lot of challenging terrain. So having a skills park in the middle of it is way for local riders to practice their skills and challenge themselves
  • It’s handy to have a local skills park for instructional clinics. Kids who live in town can ride their bikes to the park via the local network of paved trails
  • I’m always working on my own riding skills and being able to construct features that are appropriate for my own development is a treat

Last summer, my interest in learning to jump via Ryan Leech’s Jumping with Confidence online course (affiliate link) spurred me to learn how to build beginner and intermediate level table top jumps. I had the full-time use a tractor with a bucket, free street reclamation dirt from the City of Northfield, a budget from CROCT to have it hauled in, and labor from other trail worker volunteers to help me shape, learn, test, and rebuild the jumps until we got them ‘good enough.’

By the end of the season, I’d gotten to where I could consider myself solid at beginner-level tabletops. Here’s a 1-minute video clip of me riding the 7 jumps that we built:

And the jumps proved to be a hit with kids and adventuresome adults, of course.

In addition to the 7 tabletop jumps (6 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level), the skills park also now has:

  • 3 berms (1 large wood berm, 2 dirt berms)
  • 2 wood drops (1 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level)
  • 2 large log piles
  • 1 line of 8 small rollers
  • 1 log skinny/logover obstacle, configured for several levels of difficulty
  • 2 railroad ties configured for uphill steps
  • 1 large boulder
  • Several skinnies (intermediate-expert) with changing configurations

We’ll be adding more features to the skills park this year.